OLIVER CLARKE DIGS DEEP TO SCORE CAREER-BEST F4 UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP FINISH

Returning for a second year in the ultra-competitive single-seater series with Velocity Racing Development, the 16-year-old scored a career-best finish of fifth place in the third and final encounter of the weekend – capping off a memorable comeback.

After refining the car during both practice sessions around the 2.54 mile circuit, qualifying looked set to be a frenetic session however Clarke and the rest of the grid would ultimately be unable to take to the track to duke it out for pole position.

Heavy rain, strong winds and lightening caused flash floods at the venue and qualifying was cancelled, with grid positions for the season-opener based on the fastest times from practice – meaning Clarke would line up ninth for round one.

Lining up inside the top ten, the Norfolk-based racer enjoyed a strong start to the seven-lap encounter however his aspirations of the podium were dashed soon after as an engine failure forced him to grind to a fiery halt.

With substantial damage to his rear-wheel-drive machine, Velocity Racing Development worked overnight to ready the #62 for race two the following day, and Clarke repaid his team’s hard work with a scintillating performance.

Starting from the pit lane, the former karting ace underlined his overtaking prowess as he scythed his through the order, securing one jaw-dropping overtake after another.

Dispatching a handful of drivers on the opening tour, Clarke soon became a force to be reckoned with as his striking VRD machine firstly edged into the top 20, and then into the top 15.

Hounding the back of Ryan MacDermid and Wyatt Brichacek in the closing laps, the British teenage sensation narrowly missed out on the top ten at the chequered flag, instead settling for 12th overall.

Virtue of the starting grid for race three being based on the fastest lap times from the previous race, Clarke lined up on the outside of the front row for the final encounter in second place.

Lacking rear tyre temperature, Clarke lost a handful of spots as the lights went out but was soon back on the tale of the leading pack. Try as he might, Clarke was unable to find his way past those ahead of him and crossed the line in fifth – his best finish to-date in the championship.

Oliver Clarke:

“Kicking off the weekend, we made lots of improvements throughout testing and we lined up for race one feeling confident. Sadly an engine fire put pay to our chances of making an impact towards the front of the field.

“The team were brilliant and a lot of credit must go to them as they worked through the night to ensure we could get on the grid for races two and three the next day. To go from the pit lane to 12th in that second race was fantastic and set us up for a strong final race.

“Wheel spin off the line and then being pushed wide early on scuppered our progress but we bounced back and brought the car home in fifth, which is my best finish to date in the championship.

“Looking ahead to the next round I’m confident that we will be firmly in the mix towards the front. We can take a lot of positives from the opening event and there is still a little bit of speed to find but we will get there. I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do next time.”

Following the opening round of the season, Clarke leaves Road Atlanta sitting ninth in the Drivers’ Championship.

The F4 United States Championship powered by Honda resumes at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex on June 21/22/23 for the second event of the season.

OLIVER CLARKE READY TO KICK OFF F4 UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP CAMPAIGN AT ROAD ATLANTA

Oliver Clarke will lift the curtain on his 2019 F4 United States Championship powered by Honda season this week (April 18/19/20) at Road Atlanta, with his sights set firmly on making a strong start to the new campaign.

Coming off the back of an impressive debut season in the single-seater series last year, the British teenager will spearhead the Velocity Racing Development (VRD) entry as he bids to make his mark on American soil.

Establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with on the international karting scene growing up, Clarke made the jump into F4 in early 2018 with Benik before switching to VRD later in the year, where he ultimately went on to produce a stellar performance at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) as part of the Formula 1 support package.

In front of a packed crowd of more than 300,000 people, the 16-year-old delivered a scintillating drive to bag a seventh place finish and hand VRD their maiden points in the series.

Having worked tirelessly both on and off the track over the off-season, Clarke returns to the championship for a full campaign and is focused on becoming a front-running contender from the outset.

Oliver Clarke:

“I’m really looking forward to Road Atlanta and the opening round of the F4 United States Championship, it is set to be an exciting weekend and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel and get out on track.

With plenty of elevation changes and numerous blind corners the track is a challenging one and I’ve been making sure I am prepared as well as I can be on the SIM; using all of my knowledge from last year’s championship event there.

Myself and Velocity Racing Development had a solid start to our partnership at the end of last year and the aim coming into this weekend is to improve and build on that. If we can score some solid points, stay out of trouble and kick things off in the right direction then I’ll be happy.”

The 2019 F4 United States Championship powered by Honda campaign will see three races take place at Road Atlanta this week. For more information on the timetable and relevant event links, click here.

OLIVER CLARKE JOINS FEWKES SPORT MANAGEMENT RANKS AHEAD OF F4 USA ASSAULT

Fewkes Sport Management is delighted to confirm that it will represent Oliver Clarke for the forthcoming 2019 season, as the British racer heads Stateside to compete in the F4 United States Championship powered by Honda.

Having showcased his potential in the single-seater category last year following a successful spell in karting, the teenager will return to contest a full campaign spearheading a two-car Velocity Racing Development (VRD) entry.

With an abundance of first-hand experience within the motorsport industry globally through the years, Fewkes Sports Management will work with Clarke to further enhance his performance in a number of different key areas both on and off the track.

Commenting on aligning himself with Fewkes Sport Management, Clarke said:

“Returning to the F4 United States Championship is a very exciting prospect for me and I’m thrilled to be doing it with Fewkes Sport Management.

Will Fewkes has a vast amount of experience in athlete management and the promotion of high-profile racing championships around the world, which I am sure will give me that extra edge in my development. I built some excellent foundations during my debut campaign in 2018, and I would say that I am very confident that myself and Velocity Racing Development can challenge at the front with the package that we have.”

Will Fewkes, Fewkes Sport Management Director, added:

“I’m delighted to announce Oliver Clarke under the Fewkes Sport Management banner ahead of his campaign in the 2019 F4 United States Championship. Oliver has some brilliant credentials and I have no doubt that he will become a real contender during his second season in the championship.

Fewkes Sports Management possesses a great amount of experience within the motorsport market as a whole, and I very much look forward to working with Oliver to achieve his future goals.”

Clarke will kick off the 2019 F4 United States Championship powered by Honda season at Road Atlanta in Georgia on April 18/19/20